Thursday, April 30, 2009

Springer Fever

Yeah, it's that time of year. Exactly two years ago we set out on the Approach Trail to the Appalachian Trail from Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia. I wouldn't exactly say that I'd want to be out there hiking this year (I love what we're up to right now!), but remembering those first few weeks on the trail sure is enticing.

April 30th is, and I imagine will always be, a special date.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

GPSies for the JMT

GPSies: JMT Route

I can't say that I enjoy hiking with a GPS, but the technology sure is fascinating. GPSies is a slick little web site for you to post and swap your travel routes.

If you follow this link to the John Muir Trail , you can see where Lauren and I will be hiking this summer, and even explore some photos that other people have taken in the area. You can also search through their growing database of hikes in your desired area, which come complete with an elevation profile and time estimate.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Ben, Lauren, Nicole and Comet

This weekend we headed to Lake Morena for our second Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off. The sendoff event for the current class of PCT hikers is basically a great excuse to get together with friends and enjoy some crisp mountain air and walk a few miles of the trail. As always, it was great to catch up with Comet & Nicole and Clearwater.

Walt, Lauren, Ben and Pat

Our highlight was when our A.T. trail angels Walt and Pat (Waynesboro, VA) appeared on the trail during a morning stroll, having kept it a secret from us that they drove across the country in the PCT XPRS to attend the kickoff.

Gear Contest

Besides catching up with friends, we enjoyed the home made gear contest, Squatch's fourth movie Walked, Shooter's rough cut of Tell it on the Mountain and a few trail seminars. I also managed to grab a pretty good sunburn under the clear dessert sky.

Good luck, class of 2009.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Route to Katahdin

Google Maps GA to ME

I like the new-ish feature on Google Maps that calculates walking routes and times between landmarks. Should take 18 days and 10 hours to walk from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin, Maine. Could have used this and shaved about a thousand miles from our trip.

Walking directions to Mt Katahdin

There you go. Now we know.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Adventure Travel with Children

Aiken/Widom Family

In preparation for our 2009 John Muir Trail hike, my research daydreaming led to the travel log of the Aiken/Widom Family, who completed the JMT together in 2007. (photo gallery)

Actually, the JMT was just the final leg of their year off adventure, which included world travel with their 10 and 12 year old children to Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.

Alex and Jennifer have been taking ambitious trips with their children for many years, and have generously posted some essays from their experience:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The $800 Million Ride

Phil and Blake

Today I picked my Uncle Phil and cousin Blake up from LAX and was able to spend a few hours with them as they prepared for their cross country bike tour. After driving them to their hotel, we unpacked their bikes and then headed to the Omelette Parlor for some brunch and story swapping.

Beginning Tuesday, they will dip their tires in the Pacific at Newport Beach and spend the next 32 days making their way across the country, ending north of Boston, MA. In their words, they'll be learning from past trip experience and won't be pushing too hard, especially early on. They expect to cover over 120 miles per day, maybe averaging a pace of 15 MPH.

Phil called it his “$800,000,000 ride,” explaining that if he had a terminal disease with a short life expectancy, he wouldn't blink an eye about spending a ridiculous fortune just to make it happen.

Priorities. I love it.

If you're interested in following their trip, you can get (hopefully) daily updates over at

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Deep Creek with the Family

Wading Across Chilly Deep Creek

On Friday we took a hike down to Deep Creek. Crossing the chilly creek took a bit of courage, but everyone made it easily.

Soaking in the Big Tub

We had the big hot tub to ourselves for a few relaxing hours, and enjoyed a perfect day.

Deep Creek from the North Bank

The Southern California landscape of dessert scrub, Joshua Trees and massive boulders were fun to explore with family used to the green grass yards on the east coast.

Hike to Deep Creek

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Biker Band

Heard about these guys on NPR today.

The band Blind Pilot literally rode a pair of bicycles to success. The folk-pop outfit, formed by singer-guitarist Israel Nebeker and drummer Ryan Dobrowski, has taken two bike tours, playing its music all along the West Coast. The first of these two tours was supposed to run from Vancouver all the way down to the Mexican border. Unfortunately, the trip was cut short when the band's bikes were stolen outside San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

2009 is Matt's Year

Just got a call from Matt a.k.a Hiking Matt, who is finally making his dream of an Appalachian Trail thru-hike a reality in 2009.

Matt A

He's at Neels Gap in Georgia, after having set out from Springer Mountain Georgia on April 1st. Matt said that hiking this year might not be the most 'responsible' thing, due to his fledgling seasonings business, but he couldn't live with putting it off another year. Said something about life being too short to make excuses or worry about finances.

Amen, Matt. And safe journey to you!